Faison v. Colvin

Filing 24

ORDER denying 16 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 18 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; adopting 21 Memorandum and Recommendations. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 2/11/2018. (Briggeman, N.)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTII CAROLINA WESTERN DIVISION No. 5:16-CV-905-D JACQUELINE D. FAISON, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) ) ) v. ORDER NANCY A. BERRYlllLL, ) Acting Commissioner of Social Security, ) ) Defendant. ) On January 10, 2018, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R") and recommended that this court deny plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 16], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18], and affirm defendant's final decision. See [D.E. 21]. On January 24, 2018, plaintiff objected to the M&R [D.E. 22]. On February 2, 2018, defendant responded [D.E. 23]. "The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of those portions of the magistrate judge's report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and quotation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a timely objection, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itselfthat there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315 (quotation omitted). The court has reviewed the M&R, the record, and plaintiff's objections. As for those portions ofthe M&R to which plaintiff made no objection, the court is satisfied that there is no clear error on the face of the record. The court has reviewed de novo the portions of the M&R to which plaintiff objected. The scope of judicial review of a final decision regarding disability benefits under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), is limited to determining whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's factual findings and whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. See,~ Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287,290 (4th Cir. 2002); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is evidence a ''reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation omitted). It "consists of more than a mere scintilla of eviden~ but may be less than a preponderance." Smith v. Chater, 99 F.3d635, 638 (4thCir. 1996). This courtmaynotre-weigh the evidence or substitute itsjudgmentforthatofthe Commissioner. See, e.g., Hays, 907 F.2dat 1456. Rather, in determining whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision, the court's review is limited to whether the Commissioner analyzed the relevant evidence and sufficiently explained her findings and rationale concerning the evidence. See, e.g., SterUng Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438, 43~0 (4th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff's objections largely restate the arguments made to Judge Numbers' concerning plaintiff's symptoms, plaintiff's residual functional capacity, the weight given to the opinion of / plaintiff's treating physician and consultative examiner, and the weight given to plaintiff's testimony. Compare [D.E.l7] 6-12, with [D.E. 22] 1-2. However, bothJudgeNumbersand theALJ applied the proper legal standards. See M&R at 2-14. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the AU's analysis. See id. In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 22] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 16] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18] is GRANTED, defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is 2· DIS:MISSED. The clerk shall close the case. SO ORDERED. This JL day of February 2018. 3

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